Two posts - Duke's Lax '06 Cancellation: What Safety Concerns? and Duke's Lax '06 Cancellation: What Safety Concerns? (Post 2) - have questioned whether, as reported in a recent N. Y. Times story, concerns for its student-athletes safety was a factor in Duke University President Richard Brodhead’s decision, announced Apr. 5, 2006, to cancel the remainder of Duke’s Men’s lacrosse season.
At the time the lacrosse players were targets of vicious and what proved to be false charges by local and national media, many Duke faculty, and some community activists and leaders of “rights groups” that three players had committed brutal crimes including gang rape which the rest of the team was helping cover up.
While researching Brodhead’s decision to cancel the season, I’ve read the statement he released Apr. 5 announcing the cancellation and athletic director Joe Alleva’s statement of the same day endorsing it.
The statements are very brief. I want to share them with you, then comment below the star line.
Brodhead’s statement - - -
The court released today a previously sealed warrant, whose contents are sickening and repulsive.
I have canceled the men’s lacrosse season and all associated activities, effective immediately. Lacrosse Coach Mike Pressler has submitted his resignation to Athletics Director Joe Alleva, effective immediately.
Typically, we are prohibited under federal privacy regulations from releasing information regarding individual student disciplinary matters. In this case, the student named in the warrant has signed a release and given us permission to say that he has received an interim suspension. As a result of the interim suspension, the student is no longer on campus.
I once again urge anyone with information pertinent to the events of March 13 to cooperate with the authorities.
Alleva’s statement - - -
Duke Director of Athletics Joe Alleva announced Wednesday that Mike Pressler has resigned as men’s lacrosse coach, effective immediately.
“Coach Pressler offered me his resignation earlier this afternoon, and I accepted it,” said Alleva. “I fully support President Brodhead’s decision to cancel the remainder of the season as well as his outrage at the latest developments involving the men’s lacrosse program. I believe this is in the best interests of the program, the department of athletics and the university.”
Pressler spent 16 seasons at Duke, compiling a 153-82 record with three ACC championships, 10 NCAA Tournament berths and an appearance in the 2005 national championship game. A three-time ACC Coach of the Year and the 2005 USILA National Coach of the Year, Pressler’s overall head coaching ledger stands at 229-102 in 22 seasons.
I view Alleva’s statement as a “go along” to save his job. I’ll say nothing more about it in this post other than to note Alleva made no effort to say anything that might have mitigated the dangers the players were facing.
As for Brodhead’s statement, you can see he makes no mention of student safety.
The statement is constructed to leave no doubt in the public’s mind that Duke was responding to the McFadyen email. Thus Brodhead begins:
The court released today a previously sealed warrant, whose contents are sickening and repulsive.which he follows immediately with:
I have canceled the men’s lacrosse season and all associated activities, effective immediately.Brodhead then informs the public Duke’s suspended McFadyen and he’s “no longer on campus.”
When Brodhead made his statement McFadyen hadn't signed a waiver. Duke subsequently said Brodhead’s error was the result of a misunderstanding.
Whatever the case, Brodhead’s claim that Duke had a waiver allowed him to further hammer home to the public how seriously he took the email: McFadyen's suspended, coach Pressler's fired and the remainder of the season's cancelled "effective immediately."
I’ll research some more, but I doubt I’ll find anything from the period Apr. 5 to Apr. 7, 2006 indicating concern for the student’s safety was a factor in President Brodhead’s decision to cancel the remainder of the lacrosse season.
If you do, please let me know.